Sunday, August 29, 2021

Prayers request

That's not a typo.  I mean prayers, as in many, frequently, often.  I've been at the hospital since Friday with my wife.  Doctors believe she has suffered from a mild heart attack.  Her family has a long history of heart problems, and she's actually quite old to have encountered her first cardiac crisis.  

Nonetheless, you're never ready to hear those words applied to a loved one.  She's undergoing testing and treatments, and praying that this will be caught early enough that medications and the treatments they've used are good to get her back on the road to recovery. 

So any prayers available, we would appreciate it.  Get the word out and call those prayer chains.  More information to come as it unfolds.   

Friday, August 27, 2021

At least it wasn't a hate crime

If you've missed this story, it's probably because you get your news from national press outlets.  The story of a white father shot and killed by a black assailant who, according to witnesses, went on to dance over the father's body is local news fare at best.  Why?  Because it's a white father who died heroically blocking his child from the black gunman. 

Had it been the opposite, a white gunman and a black father complete with gloating over the victim, you bet your damn bank account that this would be a national press narrative, even with Afghanistan blowing itself halfway to hell and the floods and fires we continue seeing on the national news cycle.  

But it wasn't.  One of the greatest evils the modern press has visited upon mankind has been to sanctify the idea that we should only care about human suffering if we can exploit that human suffering for our pet agendas.  It's not new.  This has been happening for years.  Likely generations.  All the news that's fit to print is just a way of saying all the news we choose to report on, versus the stories that we choose not to cover.  I think nobody ever stopped to ask what the standards were for making such decisions.

Today, it's not hard to figure the standards.  Can a killing be exploited to drive home the 1619 Project Narrative?  Or perhaps the persecution of the LGBTQ movement?  Or gender inequality?  Guns, of course, are always a safe bet.  But we can't let gun stories that bring questions about the above narratives get out of hand.  So even if this might buttress the gun control narrative, a black man dancing over the dead white father he just shot could get the sheeple to ask questions about white privilege and white only racism. 

So don't expect any household names out of this.  I Googled the story and found only a couple national level outlets even mention the story.  Most stories were either conservative outlets or local news outlets.  It's the point where I can almost guess which stories will be ignored by the press based on the demographic identity of the parties involved.  The worst part?  I'm almost always right.  And that is a scandal. 

May God have mercy on the soul of the killer, and cover the victim's family with peace and strength.  May the victim's son grow up to remember his dad as the hero he was, not as a body danced upon by a man seen as the real victim of his father's privilege.  And may God have mercy on the twisted and wicked field of journalism that so doesn't care about anything or anyone, and increasingly gloats over the fact that we know this but can do nothing about it.  

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Come to the League of Catholic Bloggers

Really, here is the link.  Come on over and visit, because many great bloggers who are sticking the landing of Catholic faithfulness are there.  Oh, and I will be too, as I've been extended an invitation to be added to their lists of contributors. So I'll be part of the august company of those trying to stay faithful in these turbulent times.  

Everyone who visits here knows I play pretty fast and loose with my writing, envisioning a 'casual conversation around a pint at a pub' blog than seeing my posts as dissertation level submissions.  Nonetheless, with school coming my output may be hampered a bit.  Therefore, to make up for that I'll pull out the old Strunk and White and at least try to keep it in good company with some pretty awesome contributors to the cause. 

My posts will be here of course, picked up there, but make sure you visit to see the busload of other good insights and articles.  Meantime, see you in the funny papers. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Western Civilization A postmortem in 3 Links

Here is link number one, looking at our demise from the POV of the Taliban and almost any other culture we assume must not be as bad as we are. It's odd, but multiculturalism has brainwashed  so many Westerners into clinging to the idea that only in the Christian West is evil manifested.  No matter what non-Westerners actually do that's evil, that 'West=Evil' framework is still the rock solid basis for modern leftwing thinking.  Let people who may or may not be terrorists fly jets into our skyscrapers, killing thousands in the process, and the almost knee-jerk reaction will be 'what did we do to make them hate us?'.  As we watch the Taliban set up another terror state, don't expect it or the suffering of millions under their rule to do much to stop that suicidal notion in the West that we alone have no right to exist.  Against forces with a strong sense of self and worth, don't expect the West  - with no sense of self or worth - to last much longer. 

Here's number two, in which the long, slow decline of the Western values is kicked around.  The loss of virtue is a key point, with the subsequent loss in real concern for our own civilization .  The Left has almost sanctified hating everything and everyone having to do with the civilization we inherited.  A key feature of this strategy has been to turn as many generations as possible into drugged up, sexed up, narcissistic nihilists.  Who cares?  That's the mantra of so many, unless caring is a way to declare my superiority to my neighbor.  And if someone's grandchildren get what we deserve, all the better.  Compared to that, cultures and movements like the Taliban or Communist China or Islam, or even the still hobbling along former Soviet Union, will have little trouble mopping the floor with what's left of the country once called land of the free and home of the brave. 

Last and by no means least, number three is an interesting reflection on the year in the 1990s that Western culture officially died.  I'm sure people could quibble about the date, but I'm finding more and more recognize that it was some time in the 1990s that the bottom fell out.  

There were still some glimmers I think.  There seemed to be a sort of 'patriotic' renaissance of sorts, with Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and similar fare.   You could also see some of that across the ocean in BBC productions.  But it was short lived and all but wiped out a few years after 9/11.  So 1996 as the year it began to die?  You decide. 

At the end of the day, we know the West is dying, and most likely dead.  Even in my pastoring days, we used to say it's no longer a question of if, but of when, Western Civilization will be a thing of the past. That was said particularly of Europe.  By the early 2000s, it looked more and more like America deserved to be added to the list.  Not if but when the West would be gone, that was the only question.

Now, the question is if the West has already died and we didn't notice, or if it's merely in Hospice, counting the hours.  Probably a cool third of those raised in the West will be happy to see it die, since they've bought into the idea that were it not for the Christian West, there likely would be no evil in the world.  Another batch - let's say a third for fun - is like so many former defenders of the West, and that's people wondering when a good time to jump ship will be.  For now, we won't get into those outside of the West who are no doubt happy to see this turn of events.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A nice story

Really.  Just a nice story.  No commentary needed, except a reminder that for all the bad in the world, there are still those little Christian soldiers out there worth remembering.  

HT: Nate Winchester

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Fantasia Tribute

And no, I don't mean that deplorable digital dung heap released in 2000.  That should have been a warning sign about how far we had fallen as a civilization.  Though, in fairness, in 1941, many in the upper class of the day no doubt thought the same thing when they viewed Disney's attempt to elevate animated film to both a sophisticated art form as well as an art form for the masses.  

Upon its initial release, he failed on both counts.  Those in 'Society' scoffed at the cheap and disrespectful approach to the lofty heights of classical music that his animated film demonstrated.  More damming for Walt Disney, however, was the fact that the public also turned their backs on the work.  What were lines dancing about next to hippos and dinosaurs behind a type of music with which many were unfamiliar? 

That ended Disney's attempts to elevate animated film.  Though he would dabble with this or that artistic spin on a cartoon - most notably his 1959 film Sleeping Beauty - he resigned himself mostly to producing fun but fluffy cartoons of roughly 3/4 movie length.  Many became classics of course, only to fall on the PC chopping block in our time.  But none tried to reach the artistic heights he was grasping for in 1941 with Pinocchio and Fantasia.

In our house, Fantasia is a sort of 'semi-viewing' pre-autumnal tradition.  My love for autumn is well know to anyone who has spent more than a few years following my blog.  As the boys grow and move on in life and the traditions fade, it might not have the same punch that it used to have.  Likewise, in an odd twist, I find myself less nostalgic now than I used to be in my younger years.  I'll have to think on that strange development some day.

But not today.  Instead, I just want to post a shout out to what I consider one of Disney's best ever attempts at anything, and that's the original 1941 Fantasia.  I'm no film critic, so I'm not giving a point by point review.  I merely point out that it's been a sort of pre-game warm up for our Fall festivities over the years.  It's not an every year thing, but I find it fits nicely into what I said some years ago about fantasy and Fall appearing to go hand in hand. 

In keeping with Disney's serious Anglophilia and love of old European folklore, there is plenty of 'fantasy' in the mix.  Though I never cared for fantasy growing up, I've warmed to the genre over the years.  This was helped by my sons being into it, having come of age in the 2000s when The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and all things wizardry and mythical monsters were the name of the game. 

Fantasia manages, in small doses, a mixture of classical fantasy and classical music.  The rebellious Leopold Stokowski provides the soundtrack, and his interpretation of the scores in question is still the measuring rod I use when I hear the various pieces in other outlets. 

Deems Taylor, a music critic of the time, provides the narration.  Like all things that tout the latest tech or science, it can seem dated if he dwells too long on the latest, greatest breakthroughs of the day.  Likewise, in an age of Google, many of the things he mentions about the musical pieces are old hat and well known, though in the day it was likely assumed that Mr. Everyman wouldn't have known some of the basic bits of trivia about this or that composer or composition.

The real stars are the Disney artists.  In each case, they were given more or less a blank check to envision different interpretations of the music, and then set them onto celluloid.  For the sequence of Beethoven's 6th "Pastoral" Symphony, they literally invented colors, as Disney gave the artists an open invitation to mix the pallets any way they wanted, and come up with anything the could for the coloring.  It was a bit like The Beatles' recording sessions during the Sgt. Pepper album: the sky was the limit. 

There are plenty of things to like about this film, but overall it grasps a certain 'here's the thinking in 1941', as much of the world was already plunged into war, and Americans were holding onto the last desperate - and likely futile - hope for innocence and peace of bygone days.  Much of high culture was still separated from the masses, thus it remained 'high culture.'  Likewise, appeals to faerie or myth or supernatural evil could be presented, knowing we were already secularizing our understanding of reality, while those old tales were not entirely lost on those same masses. 

But it's a fine 'fantasy lite' prelude to the coming fall season.  The Sorcerer's  Apprentice, initially the only piece Disney envisioned, is as fantasy as you get.  Complete with conical hats and wizard's laboratories in old castles, it's straight out of a European Fantasy primer.  The Nutcracker Suite ditches nutcrackers and Christmas trees and rather envisions a fairyland nature spirit dance of animated plants, ballet fish and elemental sprites bringing about spring and winter. The aforesaid Pastoral Symphony is one of the fantasy high points, taking us back to classical Greek mythology filled with a drunken (but not nasty) Dionysus who bounces about surrounded by pegasi, centaurs and cupids.  Zeus and Hephaestus and various Olympus companions even make an appearance.  

Compared to these, my least favorite segments are the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (sorry, but that's an organ piece - by BACH!* - and strings don't quite do it for me), and The Rite of Spring.  As much as it may have looked cutting edge at the time, it seems a bit dated and I've never been a Stravinsky fan anyway.  We won't discuss the dancing hippos and alligators in the Dance of the Hours.  I either hate it or find it charming and sometimes both and neither at the same time.  I'll have to get back to that some other day. 

The creme de la creme, of course, is the dueling pieces at the end, Mussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain transitioning into Schubert's Ave Maria.  Now, the Ave is, if you can grasp it, a somewhat secularized version.  Clear and obvious religious accoutrements have been removed from the scene.  While we hear the music, all we see is a candlelight procession by hooded sojourners through a stunning use of camera work, c. 1941 (and completed only moments before its world premier).  

But even if Chernabog strikes an eerie similarity to Bela Lugosi, and the pilgrims could be of any faith or tradition, the segment works.  It's an apt ending to a film chockablock full of old world images, ancient myths and supernatural assumptions.  No matter how things are going, and how various pieces in the film sit with me on a given viewing, the final segments never cease to inspire me and remind me of what our modern tech/STEM world seems desperate to forget:  In the end, we're always about the battle between good and evil, whether in the ancient world, the medieval, or the modern STEM obsessed world in which we live.

And no, I won't get into the usual spiel about the old racist images that had to be removed and are no longer found on copies produced in the last several generations.  A reminder that what we're seeing today about changing and editing offensive art has been going on for decades, even while the ones doing it were insisting there is nothing more heinous or unacceptable that censoring or editing offensive material from art. 

Oh, and one more thing.  To be exact, it's the soundtrack that really marks the beginning of the pre-season anticipation in our house.  When I was in college and 'collector's sets' were all the rage in the exploding VHS days, I received a few such packages for Christmas.  They often had booklets and some extra bits and pieces, a lithograph perhaps, an old promotional poster, and some such.  The Fantasia Set, which I still have, came with two CDs (again, new tech back then) of the entire soundtrack.  Round about August, I slip those into our old multi-CD player and let Stokowski herald the coming fun.  

Like the Carpenter's A Christmas Portrait begins the seasonal anticipation once Santa rides down in front of Macey's in the minds of my sons, so they say hearing the opening notes of Fantasia's version of Toccata and Fugue to this day sets their minds to looking toward fall,.  It's almost a Pavlovian response. 

If nothing else, we've managed to instill in our sons a love of traditions, even if certain popes may not care for such things.  Though traditions invariably rise and fall, and eventually fade away, I find they're also a nice binding glue for the family.  A binding, I might add, that even if crazy bad like 2020 Covid era torpedoes almost everything, we can still cling to a few signposts out of all the traditional signposts we've built.  And one of those, easily kept no matter what is happening in the wide world, is a walk through Disney's master achievement that spirits us away for a time to a land of good and evil, dinosaurs and wizards, and even dancing hippos from a world ready to put all hopes of clinging to the good old days to rest on the battlefields of WWII.

I thought of that as we had our annual Harvest Feast and, you just know it, I made sure the two Fantasia CDs were front and center in the music score in the background.  Again, that's the cue to get ready, because the fun it about to begin. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Joe Biden as Jimmy Carter redux

I don't mean Biden as an ineffective leader, or as a president overseeing a collapse in America's foreign policy standing in the world.  I don't even mean the inflation that puts us old timers in mind of the glory days of the late 1970s.  I mean as a president the news media clearly didn't want, was stuck with and so supported over the alterative, and now will throw him under the bus at the first opportunity.   

The reason why the media culture's jump into bed with Bill Clinton in 1993 was so shocking to me was because I had only known a world in which the media culture - including the world of entertainment - was antagonistic to the president.  Certainly that included both Reagan and Bush.  It also concluded Jimmy Carter.  Carter was the first president I was aware of, and paid attention to, in my childhood.  I remember Nixon only because of Watergate, and Ford only as the guy who replaced Nixon. 

Though his election heralded the famous Year of the Evangelical, it didn't take long for Carter to become the butt of jokes from the pop culture, and the target of journalists everywhere.  As things went from bad to worse, the press seemed every bit as hostile to Carter as any Republicans I knew.  But then having grown up in a family of Democrats, there were plenty of of my relatives who were also unhappy with Carter - hard to believe open criticism from one's own supporters nowadays.  So it didn't make me think twice about the press doing what my family of Democrats were doing as well. 

But in 1993, everything changed.  Beginning with Bill Clinton's giant Hollywood produced Inauguration gala, in which Hollywood moguls and superstars joined with journalists to gush over the new era of the Clinton Administration, it couldn't help but make my head spin.  I began that day wondering what happened.  I thought it was the job of all these institutions to speak truth to power, not party with it.  And besides, it wasn't so easy as 'well, Democrat vs. Republican.'  After all, Carter was a Democrat wasn't he?

Now, a generation had come and gone by that time, and it's true that the next wave of Boomer hippies in suits had assumed the controls of cultural output.  A position they have yet to relinquish.   So part of it may have been the old guard having stepped down at just the time Reagan cam into being, allowing the next generation to continue attacking Reagan - not because it's what they do, but because Reagan was conveniently Republican. 

But explanations like that are too slick and too easy.   After all, many of those partying with the Clintons were already out there in the 70s, going after Carter.  Why the difference?  Just a cultural shift?  Lowering the bar and the standards?  Or could it be they never wanted Carter in the first place?

Remember, by the 1970s, the Democrats were becoming firmly enmeshed in the secular, leftwing radicalism focused on tearing down the values and institutions of America's heritage.  A brief survey of the cultural output from that time shows that the shift toward 'Communism Rocks, America is Nazi!' in television, movies  and even textbooks was well under way.  Then why the Carter hate?  He was a Democrat after all.

True, but he wasn't that type of Democrat.  He was, after all, the Evangelical Democrat.  Barely squeaking by the replacement president who pardoned Nixon, he was likely an appeal to the social and religiously conservative base that the Democrats were quickly abandoning.  How to assuage concerns that the Democrats were more conserved about socialism than solidarity with America's values?  Easy.  Elect a guy that looks like he could be a preacher in a Baptist tent revival, that's how. 

It had to be done.  Hoisting a Kennedy or other radical Democrat embracing the secular left might well have been all it took to nudge the needle just enough for Ford, who barely lost in 1976, to be reelected.  And how devastating would it be to your party's current direction if the guy who replaced Nixon and then pardoned him following one of America's greatest political scandals in history still won? 

So Carter was a sacrificial lamb.  Appeal to Middle America, insist the Democrats aren't really pushing the atheistic Marxist America hate that many are beginning to wonder about, and serve him up to the polls.  But once he's in?  Screw him.  Let him burn.  Maybe by 1980 they can run a more 'acceptable' candidate and take the White House in the direction they want. 

Perhaps.  This may have been their thinking.  It makes sense, given where we've watched the Democrats go.  But that brings us back to Biden.  Biden was the media's darling in 2016.  Never has the Left forgiven Reagan for not only leaving as the most popular president in modern times, but having his popularity be enough to boost GHW Bush into the Oval Office.  The 2000 election was supposed to be payback for that, but it didn't work.  2016 would be when the Democrats could finally boast that two term president so believed for being the greatest after, that his VP simply strolled in on his boss's coattails.  After all, the press had all put staked Obama up in the field of legends, and attacked anything less than Obama-Worship as the product of race hate.  To fail Obama, including supporting his obvious VP, could easily be assumed after 8 years of the press and the White House Press Secretary being all but one and the same. 

But it didn't happen.  Biden dropped out, leaving Hillary Clinton - one of the worst politicians and political candidates ever - to hold the baton.  And we all know what happened next.  By 2020, the Left had shown its hand and everything was near warfare level partisanship.  Trump had to be defeated.  The only thing worse than Trump being elected would be Trump being reelected.  Anything had to be done to stop that.

Problem was, in only four short years, it was obvious that Biden was well past his prime.  Plus, he only knew the old liberal way of stealth compromise.  Under Trump, the Left no longer felt compromise was a needed strategy.  Vilify and destroy your opponents is what they wanted.  Not to mention that the inherent evil of the White Male after #MeToo and BLM made electing an old gray haired man almost the antithesis of their proclaimed designs. 

Remember, by early 2020, Biden was dead man walking.  The press had savaged and ravaged him.  Late night comedians were trashing him on a nightly basis.  Scandals and accusations and #MeToo attacks were buzzing around Biden like flies.  The problem was, despite all that, he still emerged as the only candidate that Democrats had left.  Every other preferred Dem candidate had stumbled, bumbled or burned during the debates and the campaign. 

By February of 2020 many were beginning to think Trump had this.  Despite the most naked coalition by the press and cultural institutions to defeat a president that I'm aware of, he was looking to a reelection and back to four more years.  So the media did what they had to do, and that's reinvent Biden on the spot.  Gone were those pesky women yelling assault.  Gone were the jokes and the mockery.  Almost overnight, the comedians stopped, the press shifted, and the educational, cultural and media institutions aimed like a laser on pushing Biden into the White House by any means possible.  Covid, of course, allowed the any means possible to be done for all to see without questioning. 

But now it's like 1976 redux.  Biden isn't who they wanted.  They want radical Left, they want BLM, LGBTQ, #MeToo.  They want target and destroy all opposition.  They want burn the Christian West and America's heritage to the ground.  They want the people who desire the extermination of the Left's opponents openly and joyously proclaimed.  They don't want a man struggling to string together a coherent sentence operating on old, dead notions of compromise and unity. 

So I think they're doing what they did in 1976.  The coverage of Biden, once July 4th came and went, has been anything but stellar.  True, they'll still take shots at Trump.  They'll focus on Republican governors.  They'll hoist the banner of anti-White, anti-Male, anti-Christian, anti-Western, and anti-non-conformist.  They'll even try to put positive spins on things that aren't going well.  After all, if things are too bad, we have the 2022 Midterms.  And one thing the press has learned from 2016, just because you declare things to be Utopia, doesn't mean those suffering during the lie will buy it.  

So as we've watched the press savage Biden over his bungling of the Afghanistan debacle, it brought to mind the way I witnessed journalists and editorialists in my pre-adolescent days savage Carter.  True, I've not seen Hollywood or the late night "Comedians" jump on board like they did in the 70s.  I think at this point Hollywood is incapable of anything but slavish thralldom to the political Left.  Period. 

But I couldn't help but get little bursts of remembrances.  I thought of that.  And I thought of broken down, tired looking Biden and his dumpster fire gaffe machine VP Kamala Harris.  They are not who the Leftist establishment wants.  They will be kept alive, on a sort of media life support, until time to jettison them.  But in the meantime, the press - and perhaps other leftwing venues - will show no particular love for them.  They will allow just enough damage so that when the time comes, a candidate more to their liking will be the one all who would defeat the genocidal Nazism of White American Conservatism will have to support.  No old school Biden types next time.  It will be someone far more radical. 

Plus, it builds credibility for a media in desperate need of the same. At the end of the day, nobody believes the press is objective.  Some, particularly those on the Left, lie and insist it is, but they aren't stupid enough to actually think that.  The rest can't miss the naked partisanship and ideological activism that defines the press today.  Being able to selectively trash 'their own guy' might just win back a little lost good will from at least some of the masses.  Enough, at least, so that next time they could get an important boost to help the candidate they really want into the Oval Office. 

Just musings and ramblings as my mind watches the now, and can't help but remember the then. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The monstrous evil of the modern Left

I use the word 'Left' until someone cleverer than I am can come up with a pithy label to identify this horrific emerging force of Hell that seems to be seducing individuals and institutions the world over.  I don't use phrases like monstrous evil lightly.  There are many things I disagree with people about, and some of those things I believe are evil.   Heck, I'm crazy enough to believe sex outside of marriage is a form of evil, though I sympathize with people who have been given carte blanche to their libidos, with not a few Christian traditions approving of the message.  Nonetheless, I reserve such bombastic phrases for that which I truly believe is a priority of the Satanic. 

What we are seeing with the "Left", is an almost step by step repeat of the worst human catastrophes of the last century, with a few new spins thrown in for good measure.  Race hate and discrimination, ethnic cleansing and censorship, tyranny and elitism, and lowering people to their base animal instincts all while broadening the ways in which we should accept the mass extermination of ever growing numbers of undesirables.  We won't even get into its militant rejection of the Gospel and hatred of God. 

In this particular case I'm thinking about (and there are many examples to think about), one of the nations that has all but sanctified the modern Left as its official civil religion, demonstrating the logical results of this development by proudly eliminating those pesky Down Syndrome types.  This is achieved, of course, by selectively aborting those rascally unborn babies who just won't live up to our demands for a nihilistic, narcissistic life of animal pleasures, greed and self-worship.  

Even Pope Francis, never one to rush quickly into condemning sins that dwell to the left of center, has called this horrific practice out for what it is, and that's just Nazi Master Race thinking redux.  If it was just Iceland, perhaps it would be bad enough.  We could always blame the Vikings.  But it isn't.  This form of hate, extermination and destruction in the name of a newly evolving spin on old Master Race attitudes is becoming far too common across the leftwing spectrum, at least across the realms of the Dying West. 

The only thing worse than the emergence of this new demonic evil sweeping the world is the utter impotence of Christian traditions and leaders to even put up a pinky's worth of resistance.  In fact, on an almost daily basis, it seems the priority of a growing number of such leaders is to find ways to align with this movement while keeping one foot firmly planted on that middle class generating lifestyle of serving the Church.  Try to imagine, if you will, those leaders in the 30s who proudly draped the Nazi emblem over the altars in their churches. 

Same here.  Not that we should be surprised.  The anointed priesthood has never had a great track record when it comes to standing firm against the Molochs, the Mammons, the Ashtoreths, the Baalezebubs and the Nazis.  There's something about earning a living proclaiming God's word that makes it difficult to proclaim God's Word.  I know that from experience.  It ain't easy calling down hellfire on the people who sign your paycheck.  This is especially true in our modern age, when it's a safe bet that many of those people no longer put the same stock in the historical Faith as did people even a few generations ago. And look what happened then. 

While the world dropped the ball a hundred years ago regarding the up and coming evils of the age, it did eventually rally and, even is pressed to do so, finally rose up, came together and defeated the evils at hand.  That also tends to happen over time.  Evil seems to get the upper hand quickly, but soon you have those heroes of the ages who rise up to stop it.

Problem is, I'm having a hard time seeing much resistance today, at least from those who should know better.   I know.  Sometimes it takes a while.  But in the meantime, we will have to account for our own delays, our own acquiescence, our own enabling of these forces that are so obviously evil that they can't be denied.  And that's those of us who see it for what it is and yet appear powerless to stop it.  We won't even get into those who wear the cross proudly, all while finding endless ways to join in the parades around the mounting body count of Satan's latest sleight of hand.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Why a Back to the Future Reboot would not work

By the 1990s, we knew a black president was inevitable
Because at the end of the day, things haven't changed much in the last thirty years.  The differences between life in America in the mid-1980s and life in America in the mid-1950s was stunning. Not as great as the differences between growing up in 1955 and growing up in 1925 maybe.  But they were big.  Heck, by 1985 going to the moon was old hat, most had multiple televisions, personal computers were becoming the rage, and cell phones were the new thing.   CDs were coming out and VCRs were the new fad of the day.  Compared to 1950s, that's something.

Since the 1990s, however, not much has changed.  Improved some tech maybe, expanded upon perhaps, but there's little we have now that we didn't have, at least in the most rudimentary forms, in the 90s.  Yes, we have smart phones that have replaced digital cameras, video recorders, and portable televisions.  But all they are is basically all those things in one cellular package.  Computers are just faster and more powerful versions of what we had then.  The Internet has improved, speed and access and all, but the basics are still there.  We have electric cars, but they've been kicking that around since I was in school.  We have billionaires flying into space, but that's just building on what already is old news. 

So there's not a whole lot in terms of leaps forward.  So stagnant are we that as recently as the late 1970s, I remember many of us still believing that we would have moon colonies by around the far away turn of the century.  By the 1990s, we were pretty sure we wouldn't.  We still aren't 30 years later.  And the same goes for social and cultural trends.  What has changed isn't the sort of thing we want to bring attention to, unlike 1985.  

All of this came to my mind when I saw this story that the recent UN Climate Report said rising sea levels would be wiping out small islands and even island nations.  Well now, that's nothing I haven't heard since the 1990s.  In fact, on one level, I'll say climate change hysteria is very consistent.  They've been saying the same thing over and over since the 1990s, including predictions of inevitable doom that keep being repeated, even though we just never see much of what they predict. 

If you get in your hybrid DeLorean and fly back to the mid-1990s, you'll be hearing the same thing, seeing many of the same things, or at least the basis of the same things, as we hear and see today.  In fact, in the late 1990s, when I moved back to Louisville and for the first time ever purchased cable television, I remember one of the big stories was the congressional hearings on Global Warming led by then Vice President Al Gore threatening, among other dire predictions, the swallowing up of small islands and even island nations by rising sea levels.  

That, kiddies, is why a reboot of that fan favorite movie from the mid-80s couldn't happen.  So little has changed since then and, to be frank, what has changed has not been for the better.  I think in our gut of guts, we all know that is true.  

Monday, August 16, 2021

The ones increasingly outraged at the racism of Critical Race Theory

Appears to be a growing number of black Americans who can smell a rat.  The number of white liberals declaring the 'white liberals' burden' by forever lowering expectations and standards for blacks, Hispanics, and other swarthy types who they see as helpless, hapless and hopeless victims of all those other whites who were born racist and not nearly as righteous and holy as said white liberals, are starting to stink up the nostrils of not a few minorities who have their numbers.  

Beyond abortion and the destruction of the family and our children in the name of the sex and drugs revolution, the new incarnation of ages old racism seen in the agendas of white liberals is fast becoming yet another grave evil courtesy of the Left.  And by racism, I don't mean the nakedly obvious racism that comes with judging someone and sizing them up based purely on their skin color, white or otherwise.

I mean old time racism the way old liberal Democrats used to make it.  The kind that assumes an innate inferiority of the black man (and woman, not to discriminate on gender), that needs beneficent white aunts and uncles to help them to the top.  Of course it's not based on some old scientific theories of the innate inferiority of the black man.  It's based on modern theories that politics and economics are all saving, and those who blaspheme the true political solutions and who sport white skin color are the reason we can assume the lowest of all possible expectations where blacks (and other ethnic minorities) are concerned.  

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Prayers for the people of Haitti

I'm sure we've all seen the terrible news of the earthquake in Haiti.  Right now the casualty figures are nowhere close to accurate.  I'm sure the numbers will be dreadful.  On top of that, tropical storms are heading that way, to population already hurt by poverty and this latest natural disaster.  

And while we're at it, pray for the people of Afghanistan.  The Taliban, made famous for its brutal terrorist regime and knack for destroying ancient statues and monuments, won't get the same bad press now as before.  We'll have America's bumbling to blame, but trashing the Taliban for destroying statues and memorials?  Hello.  Plus the media will do its level best to avoid pinning the disaster on Biden.  So coverage will be two here and one there, but that doesn't mean on the ground that millions aren't about to suffer unimaginable horrors in the years to come.  

There is much pain in the world.  For many years, Americans considered ourselves blessed for being removed from such things as natural disasters capable of killing Americans by the tens of thousands, or brutal regimes of terror and slaughter.  

Now we've convinced ourselves we deserve both, all while still being happily removed from such global catastrophes, even as many Americans consider such disasters our fault.  So in hindsight, pray for the lives of those in Haiti and Afghanistan, but for heaven's sake, make sure you pray for Americans' souls. 

Where did Twitter go?

The essence of most Twitter posts
Astute visitors to my blog will notice a sudden and dramatic drop in posts referencing Twitter images.  Images is all I could reference, of course, since I proudly don't do Twitter, nor do I have a Twitter account.  While over the years I've sometimes referenced a particular Twitter post, I generally avoided them just like I avoid Twitter altogether.

My sons, after all, have a perceptive saying that I think sums things up rather accurately.  The Internet can be good, but has a lot of bad; social media is mostly bad, with only a little good; but Twitter is of the Devil.  I'm inclined to agree. 

Like all things, I know there can be good people of good will, even those I disagree with, who take to Twitter to muse or joke or throw out ideas.  Most Twitter posts, however, are what I would consider the worst level of pre-adolescent style rants and idiocy that I remember from my middle school days and the kind that define the worst of modern online debate.  Heck, our locker rooms back then featured more mature takes on the issue of the day than what I see on Twitter today.

That Twitter became a trusted source of information for the modern news media is all I need to know to place no value in the modern news media.  They could say they get their sources from middle school locker rooms and I'd hold them in higher esteem. That's why I typically avoided Twitter altogether.

But after last year, when I stumbled across a site that kept up with various Twitter posts, mostly from Catholics, I began seeing that as a quick and pithy go-to myself to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening today.  Perhaps it is a good source for understanding the currents of thought in our modern age.  If so, God help us. 

Most of what I saw as I kept going there, however, was childish, snotty, stupid and false statements that could best be summed up with a simple '#I'm God/They're Hitler' template.  Most of what I was seeing was nothing other than that.  Children in adult garb just high-fiving each other for being what God hoped to be, as opposed to those stupid subhuman sinners over there.

Really.  Be they Catholic apologists, doctors, professionals, published authors, professors - what I saw as often as not was rhetoric not worthy of my twelve year old.  I wouldn't tolerate him having those attitudes and thinking that sort of approach to discourse was anything close to acceptable.  Arrogance, pride, hatred and contempt - those are not what being human, much less Christian, is all about.

So I stopped.  I won't say I'll never reference a Twitter post.   Again, sometimes there can be rare good things, or humorous things, or pithy things that make me smile - when they're not banned by Twitter for failing to be appropriately leftist.  And if someone shows me a Twitter post and I think it's important, I might talk about it.  But I won't follow sites that keep constant updates with Twitter, since I consider it a cesspool of sin, and a near occasion of sin.  I'd just as soon visit the ironically titled Friendly Atheist or other such pits of wretched than waste my time on something I don't even subscribe to that is worst than anything else in modern discourse. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Now that Cuomo has resigned

It's time to get back to the big scandal of his administration.  And that isn't anything about what he did to women, but what he did to thousands of nursing home residents.  Remember that?  Oh yeah.  That's right.  That was a thing for a minute. 

Even as this article from February makes clear, Cuomo had become a pariah overnight when it was revealed that a tremendous amount of nursing home deaths from Covid could have been due to his policies.  Furthermore, he then sought to hide the data rather than come clean.  Always a bad move in politics. 

But the press is jealous of its vague statistics and talking points cleverly isolated from broader contexts.  Donald Trump Covid killed 600,000 Americans.  Stop.  That is all that should be repeated.  No unpacking the numbers, like discovering that almost 20% of all deaths were, in fact, in nursing homes.  Or that almost 80% of all Covid deaths in the USA are among individuals 65 and older.  Nope.  Just '600,000 Covid deaths/Trump', packaged, repeated, proclaimed and repeated again.  

Having to deal with a story like the Cuomo nursing home scandal, and it leading people to bring out the ledgers and look at more than just a single media thrice-daily repeated stat for the masses, simply won't do.  Therefore, shortly after this story broke - ta-da! - we have an oldie but a goodie, the always reliable sexual misconduct claims.

In the olden days, just the accusation of sexual misconduct in terms of an affair would do the job.  Today it must be a violation of the only sexual ethic we have left, and that's a violation of consent.  That did the trick.  Alost immediately after the story of sexual misconduct broke, the nursing home story was all but dropped.  That was the important thing.

Clever people at the top who are cynical about the media state's insistence that the vaccines that Trump was dangerously pushing to be developed are now the only hope for mankind, might want to take this opportunity to focus the press back to the nursing home scandal.  After all, that is the big scandal out of New York politics for the year, not the one all the media is focused upon in the current news cycle. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021


Or should I say, Staycation.   Yes, it's that time of decade again.  As I said here, we haven't gotten our vaccinations yet, and the reasons are legion, for they are many.  I'm not saying we never will.  But by now, we have enough confusion, mixed messages and contradictory information to keep the shots at bay, at least for now.

With that said, we're not cavalier about it either.  We never really 'went back to normal' when everyone was running about saying vaccines have saved us, everyone back to life!  As I've said before, for us lockdown was almost life as normal.  We had several years preparing us for last year and we more or less didn't have to adjust much.  

Therefore it hasn't been tough for us to continue  as we were last year.  With my mom living with us, we've still maintained a certain 'keep your distance' and 'wear a mask' approach, whatever those may do.  We've loosened a bit, and our boys have been able to at least quasi-socialize again.  We've not gone to a restaurant yet, though we've gone to a few local stores to help them out. Plus, with our oldest son cooking the meals, who needs professional chefs at 20.00 a plate? 

But with things being what they are, our plans to go anywhere are null and void.  We generally can't go anywhere unless my sister watches Mom anyway, and  my sister's health issues recently along with the latest Covid hysteria news has more or less nixed that possibility.  So we'll just hunker down and do what our house was prepared to do: get by with our shelves full of games, movies, music, video games and backyard campfires.  We may even pitch a tent beneath the trees - you just never know.

Nonetheless, I won't be around until next week. I'm not sure what has happened, but visits and page views have skyrocketed over the last few months.  Last month more than doubled the busiest month I had when I was at Patheos and had the casual visitors that site generated.  Don't know why, but I'm happy to see everyone come by and offer their two cents.  I may not always agree, but I never fail to let the comments give me something to think on. 

But joy, safety and blessings to all.  I'll be back next week, and have an opinion or three on the crazy that will no doubt happen between now and then.  Till then, God's blessings and pax.  TTFN. 

The thrill of gardening

The house my dad built - complete with over an acre of garden
According to my dad, the only things of value he learned from his father were hunting and gardening.  They didn't have a close relationship.  His dad was no doubt good on some levels, but he drank  to excess and was abusive, hastening the early death of my grandmother.  When Grandpa died, Dad didn't go out of his way to attend the funeral.  

That's why I chafe at the racist term 'white privilege', as if a family of poor, half starved young men in the Depression with a drunken, abusive father had the privilege, and a black individual raised in wealth and privilege and never having been pulled over in his life is the oppressed.  It's worth noting that of five brothers, not a single one became an alcoholic or was abusive or anything other than good husbands and fathers.  Maybe excuse making is a poor substitute for personal resolve. 

Anyhoo, back to my point.  My dad learned hunting and gardening from his dad because, at that point in the Depression, those weren't quaint hobbies. They were survival.  When it came to hunting, my grandpa and Dad's oldest brother would go out hunting with five bullets between them and come home with five animals ready for cooking.  It was no throw away pastime.

Same with gardening. For all his flaws and failings, and there were no doubt many, my grandpa must have had a heck of a green thumb. It was enough for my dad to respect his abilities - and Dad reserved respect for those who were hard workers and did the best with the jobs with  which they were entrusted.  

When we moved out into the country into the house my dad built when I was a toddler, the property came with twenty acres of land.  This wasn't the huge, sweeping Iowa or Kansas type farming acres.  This was smaller farms, with spots of larger fields, broken by patches of trees, old fences, ruined barns and sheds, and the occasional abandoned farmhouse.  But twenty acres is twenty acres.  It had woods, a small, shallow pond (very shallow), and bordered fields where we still got to see cornstalks and haystacks in the Autumn. 

On the opposite side of the driveway, beyond a line of smaller trees, Dad sought to plow out an entire acre for a garden.  The neighboring farmers he asked to come and till the ground advised him not to, owing to the quality of the soil.  He stood his ground and said that spot will do.  

It certainly did.  I can still remember seeing the endless rows of onions and radishes, beans, peas, cabbages, peppers, tomatoes and of course corn.  One section was set aside for gourds and squash, cucumbers and potatoes, and the juiciest, sweetest cantaloupe you ever ate.  Naturally he planted a couple pumpkin plants, for just enough sincerity to charm even the most demanding Great Pumpkin. 

As we moved - and move we did, for reasons too weird to get into here - Dad would try to recapture the glory of that garden of all gardens.  If there was a plot the size of a sofa, he'd try to set aside some of it for at least some vegetable plants.  The house we lived in throughout most of my junior high and high school years afforded him the best opportunity, and the gardens he had there were large enough, even if they didn't match the one 'out in the country.' 

That's also when I learned to garden, as he would set me to weeding, fertilizing and otherwise tending the garden while he was away on the road (railroad engineer after all).  He taught me to mound the plants and how to space them, how to fertilize, when to harvest, how to prune, and how to stake.  I doubt I ever made it to his, or my grandpa's, level, but I wasn't bad.

When my wife and I and the kids moved into the starter house in which we still live, we claimed a stretch of ground behind out house that should have been a public access strip.  As it was, another housing developing crossed the side and shut off that part of the access strip, leaving it with no purpose.  Since ours was the only house without a privacy fence, and the one where our backyard connected to the whole of the access strip, we made it into our garden.

It wasn't easy.  At some point, it became common for home developers to swoop in and take all topsoil and sell it, replacing it with cheap clay based clods of nothing.  The first few years were actually container gardens.   Each year, when the garden was done for the season, I would empty the potting soil out and till it into the ground - using the same Sears rototiller my dad bought when I was in junior high.  That was definitely when the term Craftsman meant something. 

Over the years, the garden grew.  At its height, the tomato plants soared over my head, and we had squash the size of footballs, mixed with bushels of peppers of all variety, and even a shot at corn and pumpkins.  Those last two never made it to their fullest, however.  The soil just wasn't enough for the pumpkins, and time and again something or someone would help themselves to our ears of corn. 

Eventually, our decision not to have the small trees in our backyard cut down caught up with us.  We now have a canopy of branches overhanging our back deck, which is nice.  But plants are an aggressive brood, and where growing roots were, there was no room for tomatoes or peppers.  Plus, the once open area in the backyard that received almost constant sun is now deep in the shade.  So after a few years of struggling with diminishing harvests and mounting frustrations - plus a host of other developments in life - we closed  up shop and stopped with the  gardens. 

Until this year.  After several years of missing the joy of planting and reaping, we decided to have at it again.  Oh, it's nothing much.  We brought in a professional landscaper to finally fix the amateur job we had done years ago.  He planted shrubs and baby pines, and one golden maple tree, and we added flowers - something we've seldom done.  I don't know if Dad ever messed with flowers, and I know we hadn't.  But we planted some roses, marigolds, pansies, begonias, and impatiens.  

Next to the the garage we also added some tomato and pepper plants, along with another half of the front planter dedicated to our herbs.  Over the years we've kept on with a modest herb garden.  After all, you just can't cook proper without fresh herbs outside your front door.

I know.  Tomato plants in the front of the house?  Isn't that ... tacky?  At my age, I don't care.  Ages ago, a cottage or cabin likely had a plot of vegetables and herbs as one walked up to the door.  If people would prefer to see flourishing floral gardens, they can provide the vittles and space for our veggies. 

I know at this point we will lose money on the things.  Back in the day, we came out ahead by the end.  We had such an abundance that we had shelves of canned peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables - including homemade pickles.  That was in addition to the baskets full we gave away.  

Now we'll just have enough for an addition to our annual harvest feast.    That is, fried green tomatoes, fried squash and peppers, potatoes and all things garden.  We'll have to buy most at a nearby farmer's market.  The meal is primarily a throwback to the days of our garden when I was growing up, when the whole harvest feast came straight from Dad's garden. 

But it's nice.  The money is worth the feeling that comes with planting something that is barely a twig, and watching it grow.  To fertilize, prune, weed and generally tend the plants as they bear fruit.   There's just something about smelling the smell of a fresh tomato plant after you've been working with the vines that can't be beat.  It also tweaks that harvest feel, and is a throwback to days gone by when most of the human race knew the feeling of bringing in a harvest, however small. 

All of this came to my mind because we just gave away that tiller from my days gone by.  We've been blessed by a handyman we were introduced to last year when our sump pump busted right on the night we got drenched with the worst floods to hit this area in decades.  Needless to say, our basement flooded.  The priest at the Orthodox church we had attended knew of him from 4-H, and recommended him.  We call it a perfect case of God bringing good out of the crappy.

He can do it all, and after years of being on the skids in a house built with all the modern standards of quality we've come to expect nowadays, he's had his hands full.  We had been letting that tiller sit for years not quite knowing what to do with it. Even if we plant a little here and there, we'll not need a tiller like that again.  Then it came to me that if Dad was around, giving it to this handyman blessing in our life would be just the kind of thing he would do.  So we gave it to him who will no doubt be able to get it tuned back up and put it to good use. 

I'll admit, it was a bit sad seeing him drive off with something that I've been using off and on since I was in middle school. But I'm glad it's someone like him, a good Christian and heck of a helper.  Anyway, that's where this all came from.  

Like  saying goodbye to an old friend

At almost 3' high, our impatiens have overtaken the front of the house.

Pansies are looking good along the front

Marigolds and some roses round out the front

A part of our herb garden: Parsley, sage, rosemary and, well, you know
It's like having an old friend back

Discount roses for amateurs - but they still look nice

Aside from herbs, the first fruits of our labor - all is right with the world

What the Cuomo accusations say about liberal Democrats

Not a damn thing, that's what.  Politics will politic of course.  Whether innocent or not, New York politicians may find it's worth their time to run Cuomo out on a rail.  In fact, the only reason we know of this series of accusations is because earlier in the year stories were emerging of a catastrophic level of deaths in New York nursing homes due to Covid and New York's handling of the crisis.  So out of dumb, blind luck, we suddenly heard about all these accusations and forgot about the whole nursing homes in New York story.  

Remember, a year ago the press was gaga over Cuomo.  Cuomo, as opposed to EvilTrump, was the man.  Some were pushing him for a presidential run.  The guy won an Emmy Award!  Cuomo was the shining star of the party, of America, of the World. 

But there were troubles, including the nagging realization that a massive percentage of those who died of Covid in America died in New York.  True, much of it occurred in actual New York  City, but the two are seldom far apart in the minds of most Americans. 

Most preferred the media narrative, perfectly acceptable to Never Trumpers everywhere, that over 600,000 Americans died because of Donald Trump.  Trump and Trump alone killed all 600,000.  This was an important narrative buttressing last year's post-rules and standards months long silver platter election.  No matter how uninformed he was, the American voter who just received an open ballot in the mail knew it was Trump who was killing Americans by the hundreds of thousands.

So a story that shined light on the fact that there is more to that stat than that stat was troubling to the all important media narrative.  As I've said before, if nature abhors a vacuum, the news media abhors complexity and nuance.  So once more, when things that trouble a liberal agenda or a liberal narrative occur, in a bizarre coincidence, accusations of sexual assault or similar explosive headlines, are usually forthcoming.  

None of this is to say he isn't guilty.  I'll leave that for an actual hearing.  Just like Bill Cosby.  I never said Cosby was innocent or not.  I merely noted that the accusations against America's Favorite Dad didn't come until after he outraged liberals by giving a speech calling on Black America to stop blaming whites and rise up and take responsibility for their lives. 

Same here. Without making a judgment, I can still note the timing.  Because at best, much of it is no doubt about politics and agendas and Cuomo.  Nonetheless, his actual behavior, if true, doesn't really say anything about liberal Democrats, New Yorkers, men, or any group to which Cuomo happens to belong.  That should be common sense yet, even as I write this, I ponder just how extreme such a view is in our modern, Internet, American state of affairs. 

I realize it's nothing new.  Throughout history, finding the attitude that a person from Group X did something because they were part of Group X is more common than not.  After WWII, we decided that wasn't healthy thinking and began our move toward that 'one race, the human race' thinking, with not judging someone except for content of individual character. 

When did that began to change back to old time thinking?  I don't know.  I blame feminism for a lot of things, but it seems to my recollections that it was feminists who first turned the clock back by suggesting, rather successfully back in the 80s when I was in college, that a man doesn't rape a woman because he's a bad man.  He rapes her because he's a man and that's always what men are and have done. 

I dunno.  Maybe it wasn't feminists, but that's the first I remember in my life where judging an entire group of humanity based on the actions of an individual in that group seemed quite acceptable and endorsed by our best and brightest.  Today it's practically gospel truth.  The question isn't whether or not Cuomo did this because he was being bad.  The question is which of his identifying group identities can be blamed: a Democrat, a man, a New Yorker, a brother of a CNN host.  The possibilities are endless.

It's also wrong.  To suggest Cuomo behaving badly - assuming the accusations are true - means anything about anyone other than Cuomo is simply stepping backward in time and learning nothing from the past.  I realize the temptation for conservatives is to do it to them, given how often it is done to conservatives.  That if three Mongolians raped a Nigerian woman in Brazil, some will find a way to make it about white conservative Christian men.  I get that.

But as my mom always says - and she's been quoted by many - two wrongs don't make a right.  For now, I suggest letting the Democrats clean their own house, and avoid the temptation to make this about anything other than Cuomo and the parties in question.  So far, that seems to be how conservatives are reacting, and that's good.  Just my two cents worth, which is usually worth about two cents. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Sexual Revolution and Black America

Before Civil Rights legislation, when there were places in America that has discrimination against blacks in the law books, there was no disproportionally bad crisis in the black family.  Quite the contrary, black families were often thought to be a close nit and loyal structure, helping blacks navigate one of America's many blind spots in its short history in the world.  

By the way, before schools were segregated, were most black students taught by black teachers?  And if so, did those teachers spend their days telling their black students how inferior they were and how they deserved what they got in life?  I wonder, given that teachers and schools today seem quite happy to tell their white students how they are to blame for the world, deserve practically nothing they've earned, and more or less should get what they have coming.  I'll have to look into that.

Amway, since the Civil Rights era the whole of the black community has been on a perpetual downward spiral.  Placing almost exclusive faith in American liberals and the Democratic Party to lead them to the promised land, they've been let down for decades - if BLM is to be believed.  After all, in most places where blacks suffer the most  are where liberal Democrats have been calling the shots almost exclusively.

Beyond political allegiance, however, the black community has all but sanctified the Sexual Revolution in all its glory.  I would lie if I said the SR has only hurt the black community.  With over 1.5 billion aborted pregnancies in barely three generations, matched with tens of millions dead from drugs, AIDS, and a host of related consequences, the Sexual Revolution is no doubt one of the worst catastrophes visited upon the human race in the history of the human race.  And entirely self-inflicted. 

Nonetheless, like most things to hit the black community since completely aligning with the Democrats, the harm done by the Sexual Revolution has hit it harder than most other demographics. Sadly, most Christian traditions - including Catholics - approach the Sexual Revolution as some minor point of disagreement over which we may respectfully agree to disagree.  While the body count piles up like cordwood, while millions of lives are shattered and ruined, we act as if the Sexual Revolution should be somewhere between pizza toppings and carpet color in terms of important debate. 

Thank the Lord, therefore, for brave voices such as Pastor Walter Hoye.  Rev. Hoye has the unenviable task of ministering to the black community against the tidal surge of leftwing driven (and often right wing acquiesced) pro-sex, debauchery, slaughter and blasphemous living that defines the Sex Revolution and the American Left's official endorsement and promotion of the same. 

In my Protestant days, I served for a while in an urban church with a robust inner city mission.  I got to see first hand the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to inner city populations and their myriad problems, many within the black community.  I met black pastors who chose to blame everything on white people.  I met others desperately trying, however, to keep it real and do everything they could to save the sinking ship.  Based on the article, it appears that Pastor Hoye is one of these, and God bless him for it. 

After all, there is much in the black community that many others could learn from, and could be a beacon for all Christians of all backgrounds and origins. Perhaps that's the biggest crime of them all.  For instance, once when I was in seminary, one of my professors invited my wife and I to the church he was pastoring in downtown Cincinnati.  It was an African American Pentecostal Baptist church.  More on that eye opening liturgical experience some other time.

When we arrived, let's just say my wife and I stood out like two proverbial sore thumbs.  We stood in the foyer, and about two dozen parishioners stood and glared at us the whole time.  We looked for my professor, but he was meeting with the church's elders, as they did each Sunday before the service.  Meanwhile, a growing crowd of church members gathered, staring at us and saying nothing.

Then the door opened, my professor walked out and in his 'almost too much joy for Jesus' way, rushed over and gave my wife and I a giant bear hug.  At that moment it was as if a spell had been broken.  Almost the entire group that was standing there broke and rushed over to us, shaking our hands, welcoming us, making us feel like long lost friends.  It continued all through the service and after, where we lost track of the number of families who invited us back to have dinner with them next time we were there (we had dinner that Sunday with our professor's mother - and let me tell you, I still need alka seltzer just thinking about how much food was there - four meat courses alone!).

It was a beautiful thing to see a community like that.  I get that we were on the outs at first, that we were just being sized up with little in the way of hospitability.  Some might think there was something wrong with that, and maybe on some spiritual level, it wasn't healthy.  But I personally think it was wonderful, or at least pointed to the possibility of something wonderful  They were that close as a community, and had that much regard for their spiritual leader and their place in the church, that all it took was a hug from him and we were family. 

That is lovely and, I think deep down, that is what the black community still has to offer our broken, crazy world.  Sadly that struggling community is being encouraged to take that same tendency of community and family and use it for all the wrong reasons, while so many - I'm looking at you Catholic leadership - go along with the worst tendencies and worse activism that is taking such qualities and corrupting them.  

May God bless those like Pastor Hoye who are fighting the good fight and trying, against all odds, to sow a little seed of the Gospel in a community that is being exploited, used, abused and driven down all the wrong pits that only lead to Hell, in both this world and the next.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Simone Biles and the new Gold standard for bronze medals

Jade Carey's gold medal was also mentioned in the news
If you pay attention to the news, I'm sure you heard that American Olympic gymnast Simone Biles stepped away from competition a week or so ago.  Initially citing mental health concerns and pressures, she then revealed she had what amounts to a spot of vertigo for gymnasts.  It happens because of the twisting and turning in the air that is common for the sport..  I remember vaguely hearing about such things when my third son was in gymnastics before switching to football.

Anyhoo, I was going to post on the problem with elevating having to step aside and quit as the true hero, versus merely being sympathetic and supportive for the same.  That it's the one who overcomes, even if they don't win, that is the hero.  The other is simply a brother or sister who needs our support and understanding. 

Well, Ms. Biles came back either despite or perhaps because she overcame it or something, and competed on the one remaining competition she was willing to do and won the bronze medal.  I know this because this was leading headline news on the morning news shows.  She is the winner, the GOAT (that means greatest of all time - having tied for the most medals for an American female gymnast).  She overcame, she achieved, she won. Oh, and some other girls won gold medals and things.

At the end of the day, this has just been the press keeping the narrative alive.  Going into the 2021 Olympics, the dominant narrative - beyond which American athletes or teams would take the opportunity of medaling to piss on the American flag - was that Simone Biles would be expected to walk on water and feed the multitudes upon arriving in Tokyo.  I was vaguely aware that some other people calling themselves athletes were expected to be in Tokyo during this time - aside from the US Women's Soccer team of course - but it was Simone who was going to stroll in and bring home the bucket of gold.

Well, that didn't happen.  I can't say what's in Ms. Bile's mind.  Granted, she is good.  Very, very good.  I know she was warming up to the attention going into the Olympics.  I also know she bombed in her preliminary qualifying events.  I mean, bombed.  If you told me she was a first year Olympian with no experience on the world stage, I would have believed you.  How much was simply losing that all important focus that separates the champs from the 'who?' athletes, I don't know.  

I just know the narrative didn't play out the way the American press - and, quite frankly, the American gymnastics industry - had hoped.   She was hopefully going to be the next Michael Phelps, or Usain Bolt, or anything they can cash in with and boost ratings.   

In this case, they found a clever way to cash in and boost ratings anyway, even with someone who underperformed.  It being 2021, her stepping aside and citing - initually - mental health issues pushed her to near martyrdom levels.  Oh sure, some others got some gold, and those who excelled got their time in the sun - but always under the shadow of Simone, where almost every lead in story this year began with Simone, Simone, Simone.

I sometimes think we now fear heroics
In fact so celebrated did Simone become for leaving her place in the competition, that some began to talk about previous cases of Olympic heroics as if they may have been wrong all along.  When some complained about the praise and adoration Ms. Biles was receiving for stepping aside, previous stories were brought up, such as Kerri Strug's legendary vault in the 1996 Olympics, despite the agonizing pain of a hurt ankle.  That it ended up being inconsequential to the US victory was beside the point.  It still remained an image and story that inspired a generation.  Nonetheless, in 2021 post-Biles discourse, I saw more than one individual state that perhaps Kerri Strug shouldn't have done it at all.  Maybe she should have quit as well, and then she really would have been a hero.

I think sometimes this is how the press operates.  I have no idea what was in Simone Biles' head.  Was she remembering previous media darlings who crashed and burned and became forgotten also-rans?  Was she thinking of competitors like Debi Thomas from the  '88 Olympics?  Did her less than stellar performance send shivers that she might end up the same way, and she found a way out in our day when 'mental health issues' is everyone's go to Get Out of Jail Free card?  No clue. 

Does this mean we should condemn those who give in, or have to quit, or succumb to the pressures of the world?  Of course not.  Everyone has their breaking point, no matter how it gets there.   I'm all for saying we shouldn't spit on her or anyone who needs help.  If you break under pressure or have other issues, we're here to help, support and lift up.  But that's different from saying you're the real champ for having to bow out. Though such an attitude is expected in our day and age, there's something there that grates on me.  

I dunno.  I just know the press turned on a dime and did something it's been able to do more and more in recent decades, and about stories beyond just the Olympics.  It built up Simone Biles as the next great contributor to the human story, only to watch her underperform.  Then it took her explanation as gospel truth, and spun everything we've ever come to expect about heroism, champions, and the bravery of overcoming and turned it upside down.  So much so, that people began questioning past heroism and wondering, however subtly, if it should be those who can't who become the real heroes, and those who overcome who open themselves up to scrutiny. 

A social justice dictionary

Yep.  What it means is the destruction of the Christian tradition foremost, with throwing over Western Civilization and the United States as an added bonus.  Don't let the slick terminology fool you. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Then they came for the board games

A family favorite - purchased in the nick of time
So this is The Atlantic.  Not some fan boy site or forum where a bunch of fan boys and brand boys duke it out, making mountains out of molehills and going into hysterics over the latest change in elf fashion.  This is The Atlantic. 

And what is the gist?  The gist is the problem with board games that portray European Colonialism.  That's something I've seen on hobby forums now for the last couple of years.  Some have responded to calls that any game portraying the West's colonial past must be censored and eradicated. Other have gone farther, saying all games that portray anything West/America should be eliminated because, well, of course.  After all, if you're in Germany in the 30s, you say the same about Jewish anything.  Youngsters today are being taught to think 'Jew in Germany' whenever they see anything European/American. 

Now, that's just hobby forums where the weird can sometimes overshadow the interesting.  And in our day of politics-as-god, where everything down to Stamp must inject fealty to The Party into the mix, you can expect this sort of thing to spiral into lunacy.

But now we have The Atlantic.  Take it for what it's worth, it's still regarded as a respected - and quotable - source for analyzing the issues of our time.  Which I've noted is sort of what the press has figured out.  A dozen years ago, many thought the Internet and Social Media were the doom of journalism.  Somehow, some way, journalists learned to survive by weaponizing the same, and now have learned they can advance radical agendas in ways that liberal journalists decades ago only dreamed of. 

The gist of this particular story, however, is one of several prongs of the attack.  I touched on another prong of attack regarding the Cleveland Indians.  This whole 'if it was named anything by a European or Euro-American, you can be it's racist' mantra.  The point is to engrain in our minds a Pavlovian response to any term or concept from the Western Tradition.  It starts with Gypsy Moths or baseball names or pancake mix clearly being offensive and needing to be eliminated, and ends with other words and phrases - like democracy, liberty, life, rights, religious freedom, and on and on. 

The Atlantic piece is another of the Triple Joe* inspiration for the Modern Left.  In this case, the eradication of the historical record.  We either rewrite the history, or we eradicate the history.  There is no learning from it.  Presentism and all its accompanying contempt, judgment, condemnation, censorship and iconoclasm yes.  But learn?  The last thing the Left wants is for people to learn. They need drugs, sex and smartphones.  Learning will be done by the beautiful people at the best Hollywood and Manhattan parties. 

The shocking thing isn't that this is happening.  It's that it's happening so in all its flagrant glory, and yet plowing forward almost unopposed.  If we ever pondered how the terrible evils of history were allowed to happen, we need only watch the news or look out our windows and watch how we're letting it all happen again today.  As my sons have said many times, we're the generation that finally proves an education isn't enough. 

*That is, Joe McCarthy, Joe Goebbels, and Joe Stalin.